News > i3

Black Friday Tech Sales Continue to Evolve


According to the CTA’s Pre-Black Friday Survey, many shoppers like Gammell are turning to tech to do a lot of that shopping. The favorite device for holiday shopping is the smartphone followed by laptops, desktop computers and even voice-activated smart speakers.

Black Friday has come and gone with the usual news about unbelievable tech deals at retail, such as Sharp’s 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Roku TV for $180 at Best Buy,local and national TV news showing long lines at major chains nationwide, and even a nostalgia tech story: the Atari Flashback console, with plenty of 1980s game hits, becoming a hot seller nationwide.

But despite those TV stories about families making their traditional pilgrimages to grab deals at brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday, things were different this year. For instance ShopperTrak, which released preliminary data for all retailerson shoppers who visited brick-and-mortar retail stores on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, found that shopper visits declined a combined 1.6 percent when compared to the same days in 2016. This year’s Black Friday shopper visits decreased less than one percent when compared to Black Friday 2016.

I’m waiting to hear about Cyber Monday tech sales, but they should follow the trend reported by Adobe Analytics over the weekend that said sales for tech products were up around 18 percent for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday depending upon when the survey was reported.

Although camping outside of stores overnight for Black Friday sales for some families continues to be a tradition, the Black Friday concept began to jump the shark around a decade ago. For example: 

  • By having Black Friday-like tech deals during the entire month, the new tradition of “Black November” has sapped some of the enthusiasm and volume from brick-and-mortar stores on the day after Thanksgiving.

  • The opening of brick-and-mortar locations on Thanksgiving Day, which began about a decade ago, now seems to be the focus of fewer national retailers. While these stores remain powerful, the overall increase dilutes Black Friday’s importance. 

But online shopping is the monumental change, even for those families for whom Black Friday has become a holiday tradition. In a New York Times story from Saturday, November 25, which described the shopping of Jennifer Gammell and her family on Black Friday for 19 years in Southern California, she admitted, “I’ve actually already started shopping online,” on the days before Thanksgiving. “The tradition is changing.”

According to the CTA’s Pre-Black Friday Survey, many shoppers like Gammell are turning to tech to do a lot of that shopping. The favorite device for holiday shopping is the smartphone followed by laptops, desktop computers and even voice-activated smart speakers.

With online sales as the driving force for retail, if brick-and-mortar retailers haven’t already made their online and social media sites consumer friendly, they won’t get their share of electronics’ sales volume this holiday season.

And the stakes are higher than ever. According to CTA’s 24th Annual Consumer Technology Holiday Purchase Patterns Study, tech spending will hit a record $96.8 billion during the October to December 2017 time frame. But that only represents a one percent increase compared with last year.

The good news for retailers is that some familiar categories are among the top five most wanted tech gifts consumers want to receive, in this order: TV, laptops, smartphones, tables and videogame consoles. But what is great for retailers, and the industry in general, is that this same CTA survey shows that for this holiday season a record 79 million U.S. adults plan to purchase emerging tech, which include drones, smart home devices, wearables, connected or digital toys and VR headsets.

The significance of this part of the CTA survey is that it not only shows that consumers crave these new technologies, but they also understand the benefits these new products can provide. These new technologies will provide plenty of growth opportunities in the immediate future, for retailers and suppliers, no matter if they are sold via brick-and-mortar stores or via the internet.

Steve Smith was editor-in-chief of TWICE and a member of the Consumer Technology Hall of Fame.

Steve Smith

Tagged

Related